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Re-constructing psychology for women

22 July 1988


Various authors have documented the androcentric bias of science. Males have been considered the prototype of human behavior, and females have been defined as deviant or deficient. Gender, defined as difference, is problematic and controversial. Feminist research endeavors to determine the effects of the socialization of gender on women's psychological development. Attempts to delineate women's development as separate, rather than derived from men's, have elucidated a relational/contextual focus in women. There is a need to incorporate eclectic method in research, and for new contextual/dialectical theories that account for the broad spectrum of women's experience without falling into the traps of existing theories: dichotomous thought, reductionistic logic, and epistemological error. Recent efforts place women's development in a cultural, sociopolitical, historical context. The heuristic value of exploring women's psychological development is that we are forced to question the epistemological assumptions underlying research and theory, including those upon which clinical treatment models are based. Such critical examination necessitates a new look at psychology's construction of the female. These and related topics are the focus of this review.


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